A casino card game of pure luck, baccarat certainly lends itself to players who don’t want to get bogged down with complicated rules or a range of pivotal actions. Yet, many draw familiarities between baccarat and one of the most strategy-driven casino games of all, blackjack.
Whether you’re new to baccarat or just looking to clarify a few things about the game, we’ve compiled this baccarat FAQ to answer all of your most pressing queries.
What is Baccarat?
Firstly, what is baccarat? Baccarat is a casino card game in which you bet on one of three outcomes and then await the reveal of the hands. There are two hands, the Player and the Banker, neither of which is being played by you or the dealer: these are merely names given to the hands. You can bet on either hand or the outcome being a Tie.
Your aim is to bet on the hand which ends the game on or closest to nine in value. It’s a simple game without any input from you after the initial bet. However, the order of the reveal, totals required, and use of cards and hands that exceed nine make for some entertaining, entirely luck-based gameplay.
Is Baccarat like Blackjack?
Baccarat is not like blackjack, fundamentally, with one being purely luck-based and the other giving you enough decisions to make for strategy, particularly Basic Strategy, to be applied.
Their similarities are purely aesthetic. The aim of baccarat is to get as close as you can to the value nine, and in blackjack, you need to get as close to the value 21 without going bust. In baccarat, exceeding nine can still result in a win.
Another similarity is the table set-up, with you, as the player, sitting opposite a dealer, but in baccarat, you don’t play against the dealer or house, whilst you do in blackjack.
How do you play Baccarat?
Simply put, to play baccarat, you need to start a game, place your bet on either the Player, Banker, or Tie options, and then wait to see if your bet wins. Still, here’s a closer look at what to expect from a game of baccarat:
- At the beginning of the game, before the cards are dealt, place your bet on either the Player or Banker option.
- The dealer will deal a face-up card to the Player hand, a face-down card to the Banker hand, a face-down card to the Player hand, and then one more to the Banker.
- Next, the cards are revealed to calculate points totals;
- Cards one to nine are worth their face value. Tens and face cards are worth zero.
- If the total value of the two cards exceeds ten, the second digit becomes the value of the hand – so two eights make a 16-value hand, which becomes a six-point hand.
- If a natural win (two cards equalling eight or nine) occurs, the game stops there.
- However, if the Player hand has between zero and five in value and the Banker doesn’t have eight or nine, the hand will be dealt another card;
- The Player’s hand stands on six or seven and won’t draw again if on eight or nine.
- If the Player stands, a Banker hand worth from zero to five will draw a third card;
- The value of the Player hand after a third card alters how the Banker hand can play, which we’ll dig into further down.
- After all of the deals have taken place, the hand closest to nine without going over wins. If the outcome is a tie, neither bet on the Banker nor Player wins or loses, but bets on Tie win.
Above, you will have seen that the third card to the Player and its resulting value will impact how the Banker hand can play. In the table below, you’ll see what the Banker hand can do in each instance.
|3rd Player Card Value||Banker Draws On||Banker Stays On|
|9 or 0||0, 1, 2, 3||4, 5, 6, 7|
|8||0, 1, 2||3, 4, 5, 6, 7|
|6 or 7||0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6||7|
|4 or 5||0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5||6, 7|
|2 or 3||0, 1, 2, 3, 4||5, 6, 7|
As you can see, the Player hand always gets to move first, with the resulting Banker draw being reactionary.
As baccarat is purely governed by luck, this doesn’t make the Player or Banker’s hand too much better than the other. That said, moving second does give the Banker a marginal advantage as the Player could fail before the Banker moves.
What might also influence either hand for you as the player is if the table puts a commission on wins that come from one of the two hands.
What’s the difference between a Banker, Player, and Tie bet?
The main difference between Banker and Player bets compared to the Tie bet is that if there is a Tie and bets are on the Banker or Player hands, they neither win nor lose. For a Tie bet, there is always a win or a loss.
In baccarat: a Banker bet can only win if the Banker’s hand wins; a Player bet can only win if the Player hand wins; a Tie bet can only win if the two hands have the same value at the end of the game.
What is the best card for the Player?
The best card for the Player hand in baccarat is a six. With a six in its hand, the Player hand has an optimum probability of 0.446367 chance of winning. The difference between cards is incredibly slim, though, with the probabilities of victory swinging only as low as 0.446203 (four).
What is the best card for the Banker?
The best card for the Banker’s hand in baccarat is a four. Having a four gives the Banker hand a 0.458673 probability of getting the win. However, like with the Player’s best card above, the margins are slim, with the worst card, an eight, is at 0.458534.
What is the difference between the baccarat you play at physical casinos and online baccarat?
There are two big differences between playing baccarat at a physical or land-based casino and playing online baccarat. First, the atmosphere and play of actively putting chips on the table can’t be experienced online. On the other hand, the variety of games found online can’t be found on a single casino floor.
Is Live Baccarat the same as playing at a physical casino?
Playing live baccarat is as close as you’ll get to playing at a physical casino without entering a venue. Played in real-time on physical tables with professional croupiers, all that’s missed is the atmosphere in live baccarat games.
Can I play Baccarat on my mobile?
All baccarat games available at Casino.com are fully mobile-optimised, including the high-tech live baccarat games, so yes, you can play baccarat on your mobile.
Are there different types of Baccarat I can play?
You can play many different types of baccarat online, ranging from standard to premium, speed to live, and much more.
What is Baccarat Commission vs Non-Commission?
In baccarat, there is a standard commission of five per cent whenever the Banker’s hand wins. In non-commission baccarat, there isn’t a five per cent vig per Banker win. Instead, if the Banker wins with a value of six, the commission is 50 per cent for those winning bets.
What is the Baccarat House Edge?
The calculated baccarat house edge for each bet is as follows:
- Banker: 1.17 per cent
- Player: 1.36 per cent
- Tie: 14 per cent
However, as the win commission is usually placed on Banker wins, returning at 195 per cent rather than 200 per cent in the 1:1-odds card game, the Banker’s house edge is pulled out a little further than it would without this caveat.
How many people can play Baccarat at the same time?
Most physical baccarat tables have from seven and 14 seats for their players. Online, including in live baccarat, there could be hundreds of people playing at the same time.
What strategies work in Baccarat?
Much like roulette, baccarat is a purely luck-based casino card game, which means that strategy generally can’t be applied, and the house always has an edge.
Some like to only bet on the Banker due to the narrowly better house edge, and others always avoid the Tie bet. Overall, the best strategy to apply to baccarat is bankroll management.
Did you know?
In Macau, VIP baccarat contributes over 38% of the gambling city’s total revenues, and on average, baccarat has accounted for 45% of all Las Vegas Strip wins.